7/20/12 Charter News Round-Up

July 20, 2012

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Charter School Facilities

Despite the fact that the charter movement in California will be turning 20 years this fall, one of the top challenges for the state's charters continues to be around facilities. This week, we saw a couple of stories featured in the news media that highlighted some of the issues around compliance. For instance, The Argonaut, from the Marina del Rey area, published an article on the facilities debacle in the Los Angeles Unified School District. The district has appealed an earlier ruling, which sided with CCSA on Prop. 39 non-compliance. Prop. 39 is one of CCSA's top priorities, and we are monitoring the situation closely. We will keep you updated on any developments.

Further up north, Bullis Charter School filed papers in court once again challenging the Los Altos District's facilities offer. The school argues that the district's current offer fails to comply with an earlier court ruling that pointed to a violation of how space is calculated. The District gave the charter non-contiguous facilities, which greatly impacts families and students. See what is happening, and what Bullis Charter is hoping to accomplish in the Los Altos Town Crier.

Meanwhile in Chico, Inspire Charter School was told by the district that they will remain co-located in the Chico High campus for at least two additional years. This year, the charter was given a couple of portables to allow for some student growth. However, they are fast approaching their enrollment cap. Read more about that in the Chico Enterprise-Record.

Regulatory Change Proposed To California's Charter School Renewal Process

The State Board of Education (SBE) met this week in Sacramento, and members heard an update on California's charter renewal process and Public Charter Schools Grant Program, and the federal compliance requirements set by the U.S. Department of Education. CCSA has been working with Superintendent Torlakson and the CDE on this top issue, as funding is critical for our start-up schools. CCSA, along with the SBE are hopeful the issues will be resolved soon. Read about the latest in a Cabinet Report article. You can also access a copy of the letter CCSA submitted to Superintendent Torlakson here.

Monitor our News Blog and Capitol Update for any news or updates on this issue.

And speaking of the Public Charter Schools Grant Program, the Woodland's Daily Democrat issued a story stating that one of their charters, Woodland Polytechnic Academy, had been approved to receive the grant. Check that story out.

Special Education In California Needs More Flexibility

And to wrap up our week, we wanted to highlight an op-ed regarding special education. EdSource Today featured an op-ed from Miriam Kurtzig Freedman underlining the need for more flexibility in Special Education programs, in order to eliminate bureaucracy and "cookie-cutter" approaches, so that schools--including charters--are better able and equipped to offer truly individualized programs for students. Read her post here, and also, take a couple of minutes to view CCSA's latest video, which features the story of one special education students, and how her charter school is changing not just her life, but that of her family's and classmates. Click here to access "Shelby's Story" on CCSA's YouTube Channel.

Bryan Johnson

Just to clarify about Bullis Charter School, the district's offer contains facilities for k-6 students at one site, and those for 7th and 8th grade students at another site, since the district does not operate k-8 schools.

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